SEO Friendly Redirect Tool
Keeping It Friendly, Redirect Style
Redirects. Sounds complicated to those that don't know what they are. The concept of a redirect is fairly simple. When a user clicks on a link you no longer wish them to be able to access, they are redirected to a URL where you want them to go. Simple, right?
Hold on. Search Engine Friendly, What is That?
Search engine friendly is an industry term that is used to describe a process or content that is easy for a search engine to decipher. Using simple code placed in your .htaccess file, you can process redirects very easily and efficiently. (If you use Cpanel, the process is very simple). InMotionHosting has a very simple cpanel redirect tutorial if you are not aware of how to properly redirect URL's. In addition, MOZ has a great article on redirection, and the different types of redirects available.
Why Would I Need to Redirect my URL's?
There are two main reasons why you would want to redirect a URL to another. The first reason is so that only one page of any given content exists. Let's use our site as an example. When you access this site, you are immediately redirected to the "www" version of the URL. Why? Having both a "non-www" and "www" version of a site will create two different URL's that each have the same content. As we covered in the Similar Page Checker article, duplicate content, whether it is meant as an attempt to rank higher or not, is a bad thing. Having multiple pages with the same content can be perceived as a black hat seo technique, and cause your site to rank lower or be removed all together from search results. Below is a quote from Google regarding duplicate content:
"Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information....in the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we'll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results"
Having your redirects be properly implemented can be the difference between having a high ranking page, and one that is slapped with a penalty. If you feel that your site has been a victim of a penalty due to duplicate content, you should submit a reconsideration request to Google, but only after you have successfully put your redirect into place.
Redirecting Reason #2
In the example above, we covered why you should do a redirect for the home page, but what about all the other pages of your site? There are countless additional reasons to add SEF redirects, but we will cover a few more to keep it simple. See the following list for common redirect causes:
- Ugly URL Structure: Many CMS sites such as Wordpress and Joomla have text that is placed after your base URL, such as index.php or .html. Generally you want all links to that page to go to a single version of your content, on a unique URL.
- When You Build a New Site: After you build a new website, or have one built, chances are that your URL structure will change. Making sure that all your pages indexed within search engines go to the new ones. For example, if you had the old URL /pool-sales.html and your new URL is /pool-sales-and-equipment.html. Google or Bing will not process the redirect for you. Additionally, 404 errors will occur when a user tries to access your old indexed links.
- New Versions of Pages: Whenever you update a page URL, the old one should forward to the new one. We often get asked by clients if they can leave up the old veriosn of a page, and try and rank for the old page and new page (basically two chances to rank for the same keyword). If the content is diverse enough between the two page, then you should not run into a problem. You can test for content diversity between pages by using our Similiar Page Checker.
When To Not Process a Redirect
The only time it's not viewed as a wise decision to redirect your pages, is when you have been hit with a manual action on your site by Google's spam team. Redirecting the bad URL to a new one will not fix the problem, could possibly cause the new URL to be in jeopardy, and could cause your entire site be be removed from Google's index if they think you are abusing the process. When this happens, it's best to either fix the issues and submit a reconsideration request through Webmaster Tools, or to request that the URL be removed altogether.
Ok so you have made it through the hard part, on to the SEF redirect tool provided by our friends at WebConfs! Simply type in the domain or URL that you wish to test, and click submit, it's that easy. The tool works best when you enter in the old URL that you are redirecting from, not the new URL you are redirecting to.
If you found this tool valuable, check out the links below for more free seo tools. Looking for more information on redirects and redirect tutorials? Check out MOZ's guide to redirections, or Wordtracker's basic redirect guide. If you need to individually check pages where you know redirects are in place, try Rex Swains's HTTP viewer.
Helpful External Links